Some 80,000 people reportedly visited Boracay last Labor Day weekend to join the fun that was “LaBoracay.” I was one of them.
No matter how crowded, heavily commercialized and, according to authorities, polluted Boracay is, it is still an amazing place.
Day in and day out, the scene is too inviting to resist—powdery white sand, turquoise blue seawater shimmering under the summer sun.
Food choices are far and wide. Surprisingly, there’s already a Subway or a Project Pie outlet at White Beach, the island’s main tourist area.
Authentic Indian cuisine
My all-time favorite is True Food, a restaurant that serves authentic Indian cuisine. There’s something risque and fun about ordering spicy food when the intense summer sun turns any place into a virtual oven.
Fortunately, I washed down the heat with a glass of Iced Lassi, a refreshing yoghurt-based drink sprinkled with salt and sugar.
Worth trying at True Food is the Mughlai Chicken Masala—which has chili, garlic, coriander, cumin, and ginger. The creamy gravy is a perfect match for Indian rice. If you’re lucky, get the seat with a panoramic view of White Beach.
There is no lack of things to do in Boracay for those who love the nightlife. Walking along Stations 1 and 2 on that long Labor Day weekend, I noticed at least four beach parties being held simultaneously—each one playing loud electronic dance music (EDM).
Party music in Boracay is actually heard as early as 3 or 4 p.m. The revelry goes on until the wee hours.
Nestea beach parties were of particular note; two international DJs, Sander van Doorn and Knife Party, performed on May 2 and 3, respectively.
After the parties, Nestea staff led everyone in cleaning up the beach. Along with the local government officials, police officers and NGO members, tourists combed the sand for all sorts of litter and trash.
World of tranquility
But Boracay is not just about dancing or getting drunk amid the noise. On the northern tip of the 4-kilometer beach is Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa. Privacy and elegance define the place, its facilities all first-class.
Service is excellent; the food served in its bars and restaurants, delicious and unique. The Adobo Pizza is chewy and tasty, the adobo flavor lingering deep in the chunks of pork sprinkled generously over the dough.
There is none of the noise, human traffic, and clutter of White Beach at Shangri-La, which has created its own world of tranquility in Boracay. It has one of the country’s largest free-form swimming pools, surrounded by comfortable sofas and beach chairs with umbrellas.
There are two secluded beaches here—Punta Bunga and Banyugan Beach, where the sand is just as fine and white as White Beach’s. Curiously, there are no traces of the algal bloom, or rapid increase or accumulation of algae, which hounds Boracay’s main beach during summer.
Some people opine that the algae is a natural occurrence, a cyclical cleanup process of the seawater. But others, especially environmentalists, claim that the algal bloom is proof of poor management of waste among Boracay’s business establishments.
In any case, it is of great importance for Filipinos and foreigners to be aware of the social and environmental issues in Boracay. There is a great need to conserve its natural resources for the sake of future generations.
Responsible partying, no matter how ironic it sounds, must be practiced in earnest. And local government should be stricter in implementing environmental guidelines. As always, corruption and inaction are the root causes of Boracay’s present woes.
But there seems to be hope.
From what I witnessed in LaBoracay, the tourists as well as the companies sponsoring the beach parties are now more mindful of saving the beach from degradation.
Boracay is, indeed, worth saving. The sunrise and sunset are still awe-inspiring. The cool evening breeze blows away the stress of working and living in the city.
Boracay is still paradise found, the most beautiful beach in the world as far as my eyes can see.